Fright Night (1985)

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Released 15-Nov-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 102:12
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Tom Holland
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Chris Sarandon
William Ragsdale
Amanda Bearse
Stephen Geoffreys
Roddy McDowall
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $29.95 Music Brad Fiedel


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Greek
Finnish
Danish
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

*** WARNING, WARNING, WARNING ***

    This movie is filled with images of 1980s clothing, hair styles and dancing. Careful attention should be paid to the dangerous and frequent use of 80s-style music. If you are offended by such things, please do not watch this film as you may spontaneously combust! You have been warned...
 

    Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) is a big fan of horror movies and always stays up to watch his favourite show, Fright Night. On this particular evening, Charley isn't watching his show, he's trying to make out with his girlfriend Amy Peterson (Amanda Bearse), but not getting very far. Frustrated at his lack of progress, Charley gets angry at Amy and walks over to the window. The tiff is soon over as Amy kisses Charley and begins to undress on his bed. Shocked at Amy's sudden about face, but not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Charley is about to go to her when he sees something out of the corner of his eye. He sees two men carrying a coffin toward the basement entrance of the empty house next door. Amy is now forgotten as he continues to watch the two men. He rushes downstairs to tell his mother what he has seen. She has heard that the house has been sold and that the new owner is supposed to be a handsome man but can offer Charley no further information.

    Life returns to normal for Charley at school the next day, although Amy is not too happy with him for ignoring her! His maths teacher has sprung a surprise test on his class and Charley has no option but to study rather than spend the night with his friends. As he arrives home, a tall sexily-dressed blond woman asks Charley for directions - her destination turns out to be next door. Later that night, Charley is torn from his studies when a blood-curdling scream comes from next door. The following day, he sees a news report on TV about the murder of a woman. Her picture is shown and to his horror, it is the woman he gave directions to the previous afternoon. The news reader also reports that this is one of an increasing number of murders in recent times.

    Now very suspicious of his new neighbours, Charley decides to stay up all night and watch their house from his bedroom. He falls asleep for a while but awakens just in time to see a light go on, a couple appear and begin to kiss. The woman begins to undress and Charley is at first happy to see this but then horrified when the man turns out to be a vampire. He is about to attack the woman when he notices Charley watching through the window, and closes the blind leaving Charley standing there shocked and afraid. He rushes to his mother's room and wakes her, but she is groggy and not very responsive. Charley rushes out of the house and hides in the bushes to watch a man that has just emerged from next door with something heavy wrapped in a large plastic bag. This man dumps the bag in the back of his Jeep and is about to drive off when another man appears from the shadows and throws him a purse. This new man is the one he saw from his bedroom window - the vampire! At this moment, Charley's mother opens the front door and begins calling for him. The vampire realizes that Charley is hiding in the bushes and approaches him. With no other option, Charley reveals himself and runs back to his house and his confused and concerned mother. What will happen to Charley now? Watch the movie and find out.

    I first saw this movie during its cinema release and thought it was very well made and stylish. I was particularly impressed with the performance of Chris Sarandon as the charismatic vampire, Jerry Dandrige. I also thought the performance of Roddy McDowall as the theatrical and good-hearted actor, Peter Vincent, strong and appropriate. Now that I have seen it again, I see a film that is very dated in terms of music, clothing and look but is still a fun horror film with good acting and solid production.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD contains a good 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced video transfer.

    The sharpness of this transfer is generally good and on a par with other films that I have in my collection from around this period. The majority of this film is set at night which makes shadow detail and black level very important to the story. Fortunately both of these elements are as they should be. There is enough shadow detail for you to see what is important and the black level is deep enough to make the night scenes believable.

    The colours in this film are a little subdued and have a slightly pastel look about them, but nothing to cause any concern.

    MPEG artefacts are limited to minor pixelization in the background of some scenes. It was most noticeable from 12:18 - 12:45 but was not at all distracting. Some fine film grain is noticeable due to the frequent use of smoke to simulate fog and mist, but again there was nothing really to complain about.

    Film-to-video artefacts are essentially absent from this transfer. The most significant example of aliasing I could find was at 11:26-11:30 and it is so minor that it is hardly worth mentioning.

    This is a very clean print! The odd fleck can been seen here and there, but nothing that is even remotely annoying. In summary, Columbia TriStar have done it again. Good work, folks!

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    I'm very happy to report that the solid video transfer is ably backed by the audio.

    There are five audio tracks present on this disc. One is a remastered English Dolby Digital 5.1 track that is encoded at the  highest bit rate of 448 Kb/s. There is also a French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. I listened to the English track.

    Dialogue was always clear and audio sync was never a problem except for one short period where Charley's groan was not quite in sync with his mouth. You can find this at 90:56-90:58.

    The score by Brad Fiedel is, for me, only OK as I'm not really a fan of 80s music and this score is definitely from that period. It was no doubt a deliberate decision to use electronic instruments in this score to make it fit with the style of the movie. I guess it works well in this regard.

    The remastered 5.1 soundtrack is very good. The surrounds are frequently used to add ambience, such as at 7:33-8:00 when Charley and Evil leave the class room and walk between buildings. The surrounds are also used for impact such as at 9:20-9:23 when Charley hears a scream coming from next door.  Split surround activity occurs as well. Good examples can be found at 19:15-19:20 when the police car is started and drives off and again at 24:16-24:31 when the vampire lands on Charley's roof and walks around.

    The subwoofer was well-used to support both the score and the action sequences. Examples of its use supporting the action can be found at 14:57-15:07 and again at 24:16-24:23. An example of its use supporting the score can be found at 59:34-63:55.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras on this DVD are limited. Some production notes are provided on the inside cover of the case. I found them to be well written and quite informative.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Biographies for director Tom Holland, and actors Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall.

Theatrical Trailer

    The trailer is of adequate quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   The Region 4 disc misses out on:    The Region 1 disc misses out on:     The video transfer on offer in Region 1 appears to be identical to ours except for its inherent NTSC lower resolution, whilst the audio is limited to a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track which isn't particularly well thought of. Region 4 is an easy winner here, folks.

Summary

    While dated, Fright Night is still a fun horror film with good acting and, for its time, good special effects.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Richardson (read my bio)
Sunday, November 12, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDPhilips 711, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig MW82-50/8. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSherwood 8090R
SpeakersMains and Rears: Tannoy Mercury M1. Centre: Tannoy Mercury MC. Subwoofer: Polk Audio PSW-120

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